Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Kerry Panarella

Staten Island DDRO
Kerry Panarella

POSITION: Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist I/Front Door Team Leader


Because of her compassionate and supportive voice, Kerry Panarella was named the 2019 Employee of the Year for the Staten Island DDRO

“Kerry is always available for staff as well as people we support and their families to assist in any way possible, so that our services are delivered in a timely fashion,” says Siobhan Hunt, Community Services Administrator and Kerry’s supervisor. “She is a compassionate employee – going above and beyond to ensure every families’ Front Door process is a smooth and positive one.”

“Kerry does this by handling individual Front Door session requests for advocates on a regular basis,” says Hunt. “Her consistent, calm and reassuring demeanor has made the difference for families who have faced obstacles and at times were ready to stop seeking services. She is also a comforting and supportive voice to the staff she supervises during these transitioning times of service delivery for OPWDD.”

This past year Kerry took on the role essentially of care manager for the mother of a young man to help get him services. 

“The mother often reported to our office in person and in an agitated state,” Hunt explains. “Kerry calmly and effectively led this mother by the hand – sometimes literally – through her son’s eligibility and subsequent Front Door processes.”

“Kerry is the type of employee who is a team player and an effective leader. She is a pleasure to have on our team and this recognition is well deserved.” Hunt concludes.